Unbeknownst to me, in February 2013 the online music streaming service Pandora announced that it was setting limits on the per-month mobile listening on free accounts. They introduced a 40-hour-per-month limit. According to their blog post, less than 4% of their total monthly active listeners would be affected. I am one of them.
I discovered this fact when I received a pop-up notice on my iPhone’s Pandora app when launching it a few days ago. The app’s message let me know that I had five hours of mobile listening left in the month of April. Apparently, my options were to use up my five hours and then stop for the month, pay a small fee for the month of April, or upgrade to a paid account. Of course, I was also welcome to stream online.
For listeners who do hit the limit, we have a variety of options available to keep the music you love flowing. Listen for free for as many hours as desired on desktop and laptop computers; pay $0.99 for unlimited listening for the remainder of that month, or subscribe to Pandora One for unlimited listening and no advertising.
As I’ve noted previously, I am very fond my Pandora. It’s my “radio” of preference at work, in the car and throughout the day. I “suffer” through the ads and every once in a while consider upgrading to a paid account. The new limit puts additional pressure on this decision.
I don’t fault Pandora for this decision. As they note, “Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years.” And these fees are expected to rise more over the next few years. I understand that someone has to pay for my free account. It looks like we’ve reached the point where my “suffering through” the advertising is no longer enough to offset the usage
The mobile listening limit is a necessity. It’s unfortunate that it’s one that impacts me directly, but I am one of the heaviest users. Now I have to decide if I continue being a heavy user of Pandora or if I’m going to dust off the 800+ songs in my iTunes library.
— Written by: Sandra Fernandez